Super Falcons plan boycott of World Cup opener, NFF cancels its bonuses to team

Members of the Super Falcons are planning to boycott their 2023 Women’s World Cup opening game against Canada on July 21 to protest the decision of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to cancel its match bonuses for the team for the competition.

Sources close to the team said the decision was taken after the team, on the eve of its departure from Nigeria to Australia on July 2 for the competition, was informed by Dr Mohammed Sanusi, the General Secretary of NFF that the players would no longer be paid the match bonuses of 30 per cent of the $1,560,000 FIFA grant to all member associations for the group stage of the competition holding in Australia and New Zealand as FIFA had already announced that every player would get $30,000 in the group stage of the tournament.

When asked by the team members if FIFA would deduct its payment of $30,000 to the players from its payment of $1.5 million to the Federation, Sanusi said no and when pressed further ask the team members if they would have preferred the $9,000 match bonus or the $30,000 from FIFA.

This angered the team and six senior players of the team were believed to have held a meeting to discuss the new development upon their arrival in Australia. The sis, including captain, Onome Ebi, Asisat Oshoala and Desire Oparanozie agreed to investigate and find out if what the Federation was proposing is equitable and applicable to all teams in the competition.

The whole team agreed to share their findings and use the information to decide on their next line of action, which might include a strong protest and possible boycott of the World Cup opener.

“We are going ahead to press for our demands,” a senior player told The PUNCH. “We are ready to go as far as missing our first game against Canada on July 21 because this has to stop.

The Falcons had over the years protested their bad treatment in the hands of the NFF as it involved welfare and bonus as against the special treatment of their male counterpart, the Super Eagles.

Former captain Desire Oparanozie had the team’s captain band taken off her arm and banished from the team for her roles in the team’s match bonus protests at the 2019 World Cup in France and 2022 WAFCON in Morocco.

The latest protest has demoralized the team members, who earlier on arrival at their base in Australia, had vowed to surpass their best achievement of a Quarter Final place in the previous appearances at the competition, which was achieved at the Female World Cup in the USA in 1999.




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